Lesson 22º








Visual Aids

The speaker can support the speech using different visual aids: black board, slides, computer screen, etc.

They help to capture the public's attention (breaks monotomy)

They help with understanding.

They enrich the presentation.

They help to transmit an image of professionalism.

They give the speaker security (support material)

The speaker needs to know when and how to use these visual aids.

They can support the speech (they help to capture the public's attention) or they can suppose an obstacle (they distract).

Their use should give way to simplicity:

They are used to clarify and make the speech more understandable; this is reached with simple images (if they are complex and difficult to interpret in stead of clarifying they confuse even more).

You should use colour images: they allow you to make the most relevant information stand out, emphasize the differences and make the image look more attractive.

This support material should be this, a support to the speech, and should not be the base of the presentation.

They can not take importance away from the speaker.

If you are going to use support material, you need to practice with it in the rehearsals.

In the rehearsals you need to recreate the same conditions which you are going to have the day of the speech.

The use of this support material requires a practice that you can only achieve in a rehearsal.

Often when the speaker has support material they feel more relaxed and neglect rehearsing: don't let this happen to you.

You need to foresee that maybe when it comes down to the speech that the projector might not work.

To avoid a difficult situation like this (however unlikely it may seem) the speaker, besides preparing the speech with these support elements, should also rehearse without the help of this material.

That is to say, the speaker needs to be prepared for, if necessary, develop the speech without using these visual supports.

The screen or blackboard will be situated in the scentre of the stage so that it can be seen from all angles.

Whilst explaining the image, the speaker should be standing next to the screen so that the public can see and at the same time it is being explained, wihtout having to look from one place to another (doing this the speaker could loose his concentration).

Whilst the speaker is explaiming the image, he should be looking at the public and not with his back to the audience contemplating the blackboard or screen.

If you are going to use slides or put demonstrations on the blackboard, you should let the audience know at the beginning of the event that before they leave they will receive a copy of this material.

You need to try and avoid everyone taking notes during the whole session, as this will prevent people from paying the necessary attention.

Now we are going to see some support elements.

a) Blackboard

It allows you to develop an explanation step by step.

You can only use it with small groups (no more than 40 people).

When you use them you need to bear in mind:

Write with clear and large letters, which are easily understood.

It is convenient to use various colours: for example blue and red (write with one and underline with the other).

Whilst you are writing, you need to stand on one side so that you are not covering too much.

Read what you are writing (this allows you to follow it).

Once you have finished writing, look at the audience and stand next to the blackboard.

b) Slides

Amongst their advantages I would like to point out:

You can use them with with large audiences (70-100 people).

Unlike the blackboard working with slides allows you to have the material already prepared.

They work as a support for the speaker, they eliminate one of the main worries (they stop the speakers mind from going blank).

When preparing the slides you shoud try and make them simple, you need to get to the point.

Only put down the main ideas (max 3/4 lines per slide), which the speaker can then develop.

The slides don't summarize the speech. You need to avoid making slides with mixed ideas that don't really communicate anything and which are difficult to follow.

Clear and big writing, so that reading them is easy.

Use colours which make the main ideas stick out.

You can not leave out any idea which appears on the slide, as the public will be automatically drawn to it (if there is a point which is not important it is best to leave it out).

If you project a graph you need to explain to the audience what it means, how it can be interpreted (sometimes they are difficult to follow).

In the graphs you need to play with the scales in order to make the message that you want to transmit stand out.

Before you start the session you need to know how the projector works, test that it is in focus and that the slids can be seen throuout the whole room.

The projector should be placed in a way that it does not block anyone's view.

You will only turn it on in the moment when you are going to show the slides and you will turn it off every time you have a pause (projectors make a lot of noise when they are turned on and the light can be uncomfortaable).

Make sure the slides are perfectly in order so that you can easily find the one that you need.

Once you have finished with each one, pile them up carefully just in case you need to show some of the slides again.

Every time you project a new slide give the public a few seconds to look at it, before you start to talk about it.

Whilst you are showing the slides, you should stand next to the screen, pointing out and commenting on the necessary points.

The speaker should not limit themselves to reading the slides.

Do not forget that the slides are only support amterial. You will use them only when it is convenient, without using too many.

c) Projecting from a computer screen

It offers an enormous communication potential.

It transmits a very professional image.

You can use them with an indetermined number of people, as the image can be projected in different monitors or screens scattered around the room.

The capacity of playing wiht the forms, backgrounds, colours, pictures, etc is wonderful.

You should always try prevail simplicity: project images which are easy to understand (avoid overelaborated images).

The speaker should find out how it works, as you don't want to find difficulties during the speech and you can concentrate on the speech.

You should develop the explanation at a speed which allows the audience to follow easily.

With this means you run the risk of projecting screen after screen, without giving the audience enough time to digest the information.

Also you run the risk of preparing a very professional speech, which is at the same time cold and distant.